Paris attacks: How world leaders have responded

François Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn and others on the atrocities. 

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman\'s Morning Call email.

The full scale of the horrific attacks in Paris is becoming clear this morning. At least 120 people are thought to have been killed in six co-ordinated shootings and bombings, with a further 200 injured, 80 of them seriously. The eight attackers are also dead, seven of them after detonating their suicide belts. The deadliest assault took place at the Bataclan concert venue where 87 people are reported to have died. No one has yet claimed responsibility.

Here's how political leaders have responded. 

François Hollande

In a televised address last night, the French President said:

My dear compatriots,

As I speak, terrorist attacks of unprecedented proportions are underway in the Paris area. There are dozens killed, there are many injured. It is a horror.

We have, on my decision, mobilised all forces possible to neutralise the terrorists and make all concerned areas safe. I have also asked for military reinforcements. They are currently in the Paris area, to ensure that no new attack can take place.

I have also called a cabinet meeting that will be held in a few minutes.

Two decisions will be taken: a state of emergency will be declared, which means that some places will be closed, traffic may be banned , and there will also be searches which may be decided throughout Ile de France. The state of emergency will be proclaimed throughout the territory.

The second decision I have made is to close the borders. We must ensure that no one enters to commit any crimes and that those who have committed the crimes that we have unfortunately seen can also be arrested if they should leave the territory.

This is a terrible ordeal which once again assails us. We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.

In these difficult moments, we must - and I'm thinking of the many victims, their families and the injured - show compassion and solidarity. But we must also show unity and calm.

Faced with terror, France must be strong, it must be great and the state authorities must be firm. We will be.

We must also call on everyone to be responsible.

What the terrorists want is to scare us and fill us with dread. There is indeed reason to be afraid. There is dread, but in the face of this dread, there is a nation that knows how to defend itself, that knows how to mobilise its forces and, once again, will defeat the terrorists.

French citizens, we have not completed the operations. There are still some that are extremely difficult. It's at this moment that the security forces are staging an assault, especially in a place in Paris.

I ask you to keep all your trust in what we can do with the security forces to protect our nation from terrorist acts.
 
Long live the Republic and long live France.
 
In a second statement today, he said: 

What happened yesterday in Paris and in Saint Denis is an act of war and this country needs to make the right decisions to fight this war. This act committed by the terrorist army, Islamic State, is against who we are, against a free country that speaks to the whole world.

It is an act of war prepared and planned outside, with outside involvement which this investigation will seek to establish. It is an act of absolute barbarism. France will be ruthless in its response to Islamic State.

At this painful and serious time, which is such a decisive one for our country, I call for unity, for a collective spirit and for cool heads. I will address Parliament at Versailles on Monday.

France is strong, and even if she is wounded, she will rise once again. Even if we are in grief, nothing will destroy her.

France is strong, valiant and will defeat this barbarism. History reminds us of this and the strength we today bear to come together convinces us of this.

My compatriots, what we defend is our homeland and much more than that, it is our own values of humanity and France will bear its responsibilities.

 
Barack Obama

Good evening, everybody. I just want to make a few brief comments about the attacks across Paris tonight. Once again, we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians. This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.

We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond. France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again. And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. The American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté and égalité and fraternité are not only values that the French people care so deeply about, but they are values that we share. And those values are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening.

We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice, and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.

We don’t yet know all the details of what has happened. We have been in contact with French officials to communicate our deepest condolences to the families of those who have been killed, to offer our prayers and thoughts to those who have been wounded. We have offered our full support to them. The situation is still unfolding. I’ve chosen not to call President Hollande at this time, because my expectation is that he’s very busy at the moment. I actually, by coincidence, was talking to him earlier today in preparation for the G20 meeting. But I am confident that I’ll be in direct communications with him in the next few days, and we’ll be coordinating in any ways that they think are helpful in the investigation of what’s happened.

This is a heartbreaking situation. And obviously those of us here in the United States know what it’s like. We’ve gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves. And whenever these kinds of attacks happened, we’ve always been able to count on the French people to stand with us. They have been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner, and we intend to be there with them in that same fashion.

I’m sure that in the days ahead we’ll learn more about exactly what happened, and my teams will make sure that we are in communication with the press to provide you accurate information. I don’t want to speculate at this point in terms of who was responsible for this. It appears that there may still be live activity and dangers that are taking place as we speak. And so until we know from French officials that the situation is under control, and we have for more information about it, I don’t want to speculate.

Thank you very much.

David Cameron

The Prime Minister said: 

The events in Paris are the worst act of violence in France since the Second World War. The worst terrorist attack in Europe for a decade. A horrifying and sickening attack.

Our hearts go out to the French people, and to all those who lost loved ones. Today the British and French people stand together, as we have so often before in our history when confronted by evil.

Shocked, but resolute. In sorrow, but unbowed. My message to the French people is simple: Nous sommes solidaires avec vous. Nous sommes tous ensemble. We stand with you. United.

While the full picture of what happened is still emerging, we know that there were multiple terror incidents across Paris and over 120 people are feared dead with many more injured.

We must be prepared for a number of British casualties, and we are doing all we can to help those caught up in the attack.

These were innocent victims enjoying a Friday night out with friends and family, no doubt at the end of a hard week.

They were not seeking to harm anyone. They were simply going about their way of life – our way of life.

And they were killed and injured by brutal, callous murderers who want to destroy everything our two countries stand for. Peace. Tolerance. Liberty. But we will not let them.

We will redouble our efforts to wipe out this poisonous extremist ideology and, together with the French and our allies around the world, stand up for all we believe in.

I have just chaired a meeting of COBR to review the security situation here in the UK.

The threat level is already at severe, which means an attack is highly likely, and will remain so.

Our police and intelligence agencies work round the clock to do all they can to keep us safe.

Ever since the co-ordinated firearms attacks in Mumbai in 2008, we have all been working together to ensure we could respond to such an attack.

This Summer police and other emergency services carried out a major exercise to test our response for multiple firearms attacks.

And in light of last night’s attacks, we will of course review our plans and make sure we learn any appropriate lessons.

It is clear that the threat from ISIL is evolving.

Last night’s attack suggests a new degree of planning and co-ordination and a greater ambition for mass casualty attacks.

And we must recognise that however strong we are, however much we prepare, we in the UK face the same threat. That’s why we continue to encourage the public to remain vigilant.

And we will do all we can to support our police and intelligence agencies with the resources and the capabilities they need.

The terrorist aim is clear. It is to divide us and to destroy our way of life. So more than ever we must come together and stand united. And carry on with the way of life that we love, and that we know, and that will never be moved off.

I hope to speak to President Hollande later today and I’ll make clear that we will do whatever we can to help.

Your values are our values. Your pain is our pain. Your fight is our fight. And together, we will defeat these terrorists.

Thank you.

 

Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader said: 

Today, all our thoughts and sympathy are with the people of Paris. 

What took place in the French capital yesterday was horrific and immoral.

We stand in solidarity with the people of France - as with all victims of terror and violence.

I have cancelled my engagements today to hold discussions on events in France with shadow cabinet colleagues and be briefed by Downing Street security officials.

It's vital at a time of such tragedy and outrage not to be drawn into responses which feed a cycle of violence and hatred.

We are proud to live in a multicultural and multi-faith society, and we stand for the unity of all communities.

 

In a letter to Hollande, he wrote:

Dear François,

I write to express my deepest sympathy for the families and friends of those killed and injured in yesterday's horrific attacks in Paris, and our solidarity with the French people.

Our whole country is shocked and appalled by these sickening and unjustifiable attacks on innocent civilians.

And we stand united with your country in expressing our unequivocal condemnation of those involved in planning and carrying out these atrocities. 

The shocking events in Paris are a reminder to all of the ever-present threat of terrorism and indiscriminate violence. 

We will support every effort to bring to justice the perpetrators of these despicable acts. 

With condolences and solidarity, from myself and the Labour party as a whole.
 

Jeremy Corbyn

Xi Jinping

The Chinese president said: "At the sorrowful moment of the French people, I, on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people, and personally, condemn in the strongest terms the barbaric acts."

Angela Merkel

The German Chancellor said: "My thoughts in these hours are with the victims of these apparently terrorist attacks, their relatives, and all people in Paris,” Ms. Merkel said in a statement. “The German government is in contact with the French government and has expressed the sympathy and solidarity of the people in Germany."

Justin Trudeau

The Canadian prime minister told reporters: "It is still very early moments in figuring out what is indeed happening as we speak right now on the ground in France. It's too soon to jump to any conclusions. But obviously, governments have a responsibility to keep their citizens safe while defending our rights and freedoms. And that balance is something that the Canadian government and indeed all governments around the world will be focusing on."

Malcolm Turnball

The Australian prime minister said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time. But our solidarity is with them too. When the French people left the stadium after that shocking attack, they were not cowed. They sang their national anthem proudly and that is how all free people should respond to these assaults.”

"In France, and Australia, all around the world, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of France and with all free peoples in the battle against terrorism."

Benjamin Netanyahu

The Israel prime minister said: “Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with French President Francois Hollande and with the people of France in our common battle against terrorism.”

Ashraf Ghani 

The Afghan president said: "The brutal attacks in Paris prove that global terrorism does not recognise borders. The Afghan people have for many years been the victims of terrorist attacks. They feel the pain of Parisians, and share the grief of the victims’ families. The people of Afghanistan stand with France on this terrible day. Terrorism is a serious threat to the entire world and we are united in the struggle."

George Eaton is senior online editor of the New Statesman.

Free trial CSS